Monday 10 May 2021

Review by Lauren M Foster of "Little Quakes Every Day" by Caroline Hardaker

Little Quakes Every Day is Caroline Hardaker’s first full-length poetry collection. The rich and varied poems are divided into three parts, each of which address different aspects of the human experience and our interconnectedness with nature.

The poems in the first part, Histories, span millennia and explore the history, folklore and mythology that has shaped our understanding of the world around us. They encompass figures as diverse as Medusa in a poem of the same name, and Mary Anning in the poem 'Pterosaur.' Hardaker’s gentle humour is evident in 'Afternoon Tea with the Millers,; about Thomas Edison and his wife and their secret code:

          Poor over-affectionate Edison! You’ve addled his brain, Mina,
          he touches you insistently. The muse has made of him a mute!

The second part, Discoveries, primarily addresses the natural world. This section contains my personal favourite, 'On Opening a Love Note Delivered by a Snail,' a playful narrative from an infatuated mushroom to their beloved:

          I’ve heard you pulse your hyphae-strings many times,
          tripping out a melody for my ‘shroomy ears to hear.
          I sang back every night to your fruiting body, gills rippling.

In Inventions, the third part of the collection, Hardaker delves into technology and the physical universe – including what we cannot perceive by eye. A few of the poems, such as 'Sun 2.0,' could be considered science fiction. She provides an empathic interpretation of scientific processes, for example, in 'What we can learn from thermodynamics,' where she successfully applies the concept of entropy to the human condition and its limitations:

           But this road. We’ve been on it before
           We can’t go back to the apartment years, the parties
           the parks. We’re heading for an absolute zero.

I liked Hardaker’s use of senses and language choice, especially her use of scientific terms. Sometimes the poems seem almost chant-like, akin to Beat poetry or Patti Smith. She displays her playful inclinations with experiments with shape and form – the collection incorporates a prose poem and several experimental works. I greatly enjoyed the poems in Little Quakes Every Day. Hardaker has an original, impressive voice and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

About the reviewer
Lauren M Foster is a graduate of the MA Creative Writing at the University of Leicester and has been published in Ink Pantry, DIY Poets, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Leicester and more. She performs her work on a regular basis and plays drum-kit in a garage-punk band The Cars that Ate Paris, sometimes combining the two, which is as difficult as it sounds.

You can read more about Caroline Hardaker's Little Quakes Every Day on Creative Writing at Leicester here

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